Vivendi makes move for Havas

French media company Vivendi has made a takeover offer worth €2.36bn ($2.57bn) for the Havas agency.

Havas includes the Havas Sports & Entertainment (HSE) global brand engagement network and Vivendi has submitted an indicative offer to Groupe Bolloré to purchase the approximately 60-per-cent stake it owns in Havas at a price of €9.25 per share, financed by Vivendi’s available cash.

Groupe Bolloré said it welcomed the approach and has elected to enter into talks with Vivendi. In a statement, Vivendi said: “After having consolidated its foundations, Vivendi is now entering a new phase in its development and this transaction will give the group a new dimension to compete against powerful global players.

“This strategic transaction will allow Vivendi to accelerate its building of a leading world-class content, media and communications group and will ensure the newly created group a unique positioning in an environment in which content, distribution and communications are converging.

“The proposed acquisition will enable Vivendi to strengthen all of its businesses at a time of profound transformation. In this environment which offers attractive development prospects, in-depth consumer knowledge and strong data analytics capabilities represent a significant competitive advantage.

“This transaction will enable Havas to leverage Vivendi’s skills in talent management, content creation and distribution. In return, Vivendi will gain access to Havas’s expertise in consumer science, data analytics and new creative formats. Through joining Vivendi, Havas will have access to financial resources for both its organic and external growth worldwide.”

Havas and Vivendi already enjoy strong ties through the Bolloré family. Vincent Bolloré leads Groupe Bolloré and is also chairman of Vivendi and a shareholder in the firm as well as Havas. His son Yannick Bolloré is chief executive of Havas.

In January, Havas announced that HSE would be folded into the wider Havas group in a move that would result in the departure of chief executive Pedro Avery. Havas said Avery, who had served as HSE chief executive since December 2015, would move on to new projects outside the group, adding that the changes represented a further step in the implementation of its ‘Together strategy’ to further intensify integration for its clients.

The Havas Sports & Entertainment offer is now placed at the core of all Havas Group’s client teams. The move was the result of a year-long integration strategy for the Havas Sports & Entertainment network, overseen by Avery.

Vivendi said its objective is to reach a binding agreement with Groupe Bolloré on the acquisition of its stake in Havas as soon as possible. The closing of the transaction remains subject, among others, to the completion of satisfactory due diligence, the execution of a share purchase agreement between Vivendi and Groupe Bolloré, consultation with the employee representative bodies and the approval of the relevant competition authorities.

If the acquisition is completed, Vivendi will launch a simplified public tender offer on the remaining Havas shares at the same price, without seeking a delisting of Havas shares.